I received tickets to Universal Orlando Resort for this review/feature. Opinions expressed are my own.
This post follows me as I visited Universal Orlando Resort's Islands of Adventure theme park as well as the Blue Man Group Show on property. My first post followed me through Diagon Alley at the Universal Studios theme park. I would suggest reading that post first since it covers a huge part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as well as tips and tricks in general for visiting these theme parks. Follow the Pharos Lighthouse that is 130 feet above the entrance to help you find your way from the parking garage to the entrance of Islands of Adventure.
This park is divided into islands around a small lake in the center. I am listing them here in counter-clockwise order. Seuss landing is a fun place for the younger kids with tame rides for them to enjoy. It is colorful and fun. You can even buy Dr. Seuss books here and introduce your kids to the rhyming fun. There is also a splash pad area called If I Ran the Zoo. My kids could literally run around here for hours. When it comes to theme parks, I always take a backpack full of a change of clothes so we can experience all the areas that have water. I definitely think it is worth toting around. Universal has plenty of lockers you can rent if you prefer to stash it away until you hit up the water rides.
When you pass over the bridge to the next land, you get a great view of The Incredible Hulk Coaster. Since I worked there and I have a thing for super heroes, it will always remain one of my favorite roller coasters of all time.
Heading into The Lost Continent you can find some fun shows as well as one of my all time favorite theme parks restaurants, Mythos. It is a nicer sit down style restaurant and I suggest getting reservations in advance because you get seated much quicker that way. It has consistently been voted the number 1 theme park restaurant in the world. We came back later in the day and ate there for dinner.
Next up you enter the other part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter....Hogsmeade. This area is another place where I truly feel like I have stepped directly into the movies.
This is the entrance coming from the other direction. In this area you will find a roller coaster for big kids and a smaller one for younger kids. There are so many shops including a candy shop and another branch of Ollivanders for wands. You also can get butterbeer here and I highly suggest you do so as it is a unique and delicious beverage that I could easily drink all day long if I could.
Of course in this area you find Hogwarts and the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. I absolutely LOVE this ride and there is literally nothing even remotely close to it anywhere. You are strapped into a harness type seat and you watch screens that take you on the journey. This ride is an absolute must!
Going to theme parks with kids, I know what a big deal height requirements are for rides. My suggestion is to check out height requirements before you go and inform your kids ahead of time which ones they will be able to ride. This can help curb disappointment when you are at the ride itself. Here are the height requirements for Islands of Adventure and I took this straight from their website HERE. Super thick soled tennis shoes can help a child that is millimeters from a height requirement but puffy hair and hats will do you no good as those ride attendants will have them take hats off and will push down a beehive hairstyle.
- Jurassic Park River Adventure? - Must be at least 42". Children between 42"-48" must be accompanied by a Supervising Companion.
- Pteranodon Flyers? - Please note that Pteranodon Flyers?
is designed for children 36" - 56" inches tall. A child meeting this
requirement must accompany guests over 56 inches tall. Children between
36"-56" must be accompanied by a Supervising Companion.
- *Dragon Challenge? - Must be at least 54"
- *Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls? - Must be at least 44". Children between 44"-48" must be accompanied by a Supervising Companion.
- Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges? - Must be at least 42". between 42"-48" must be accompanied by a Supervising Companion.
- *Incredible Hulk Coaster? - Must be at least 54"
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man? - Children between 40"-48" must be accompanied by a Supervising Companion.
- *Doctor Doom's Fearfall? - Must be at least 52"
- The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!? - Must be at least 40". Children between 40"-48 "must be accompanied by a Supervising Companion.
- *Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey? - Must be 48".
- Flight of the Hippogriff? - Must be at least 36". Children between 36"-48" must be accompanied by a Supervising Companion.
- Cat in the Hat? - Must be at least 36". Children between 36" - 48" must be accompanied by a Supervising Companion.
*These rides have "test seats" available so that guests can determine comfort and fit for themselves before riding. I have a husband that stands 6'9" and is built big and I can assure you that his femurs could literally not bend in a way for his butt to even come remotely close to the seat for Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls. This is not because he is big, as the lap area is really huge for this ride, but because of the safety bar his legs could not slide down into the leg area. Just giving a heads up to those out there with tall people problems like my husband. Another tip is when the grouper is putting you into rows ask them which row offers the most leg room or the most waist room. Since they work there they will know the row that will best fit you, but they might not always think to put you there unless you ask since they are really busy.
Check out the certificate my 45" daughter is holding above. It is a height certificate for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride which has a 48" height requirement. This certificate allows her and up to 5 people in her party to get right onto the ride with no wait when she is tall enough to ride. All the rides with height requirements have these height certificates available and you only have to ask the ride attendant out in front of the ride for one. I worked at The Incredible Hulk Coaster seasonally for 2 years and I can tell you that ride also had them but I never once had a person ask for one. Instead I would give them to children that were upset when they were not tall enough to ride. My daughter absolutely loves this certificate and she was so excited to get it. Now it is proudly displayed in her room until the day she is tall enough to ride.
The Hogwarts Express ride takes you between both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and because of this you will need 2-park tickets to ride it. This is for all ages and you get to sit in areas that are just like the movie where the seats face each other. You all look out the interactive "window" and as you leave Hogwarts it shows that way on the screen. In the other direction it shows you leaving London and each direction gives you a different viewing experience. My whole family loved this ride!
Continuing on around takes you to the Jurassic Park area. As a librarian and a lover of all things Michael Crichton, I really enjoy going to this land. It has the fun River Adventure ride where you will get a little wet but normally it is nothing the hot Florida heat can't dry. It also has quite a steep drop on the ride so if you aren't a thrill seeker definitely skip this ride. My family loved it.? There is a fun interactive area inside with AC in this land as well as a fun area for kids to play outside. You could easily sit for an hour while your kids play here.
The next area takes you to water rides. With Blutos we got absolutely soaked from head to toe. I really like round water rides because everyone faces each other and you laugh as a group even if you have never met the other people. You laugh when someone gets soaked or you laugh when someone just escapes getting drenched under a waterfall. It is a fun ride that if you don't mind getting wet then you should ride.
The Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls ride pictures above has obvious big drops in it and if you look closely you can see me with my tank top on in the ride. My daughter is so small you can't even see her behind the person in front of us. These classic log flume type rides always make me smile.
Marvel Island is a super hero lover's dream come true. This area has some serious thrill seeker rides. The theming is fun and exciting and if you like drop rides like I do then make sure to hit up Dr. Doom. If those aren't your thing there are plenty of areas to hang around in this area instead.
We also headed to the Blue Man Group show that was playing that night. You take the small path that is directly between both parks, and is pictured below, to the ticket window as well as to the theater.
Experience the mystery, the humor, the euphoria and the indescribable celebration of art, technology and music that is Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando? Resort. Lose yourself in the incredible performances, the astounding music and the captivating stage show. Combining science and laughter, Blue Man Group makes for an explosive evening of entertainment that has wowed more than 25 million people worldwide.?
I always assumed that Blue Man Group was a show for adults so I never really thought about taking my girls there before. I went into the show not really knowing what I was in for, but the show is actually very kid friendly, although a few jokes thankfully flew over my daughter's head. She enjoyed the upbeat music and crazy antics during the show. She literally was on the edge of her seat eating popcorn the entire time. Every time a segment ended she was enthusiastically clapping and cheering them on. It was a great show and I was surprised with how much I really liked it!